Friday, February 24, 2006

Orientation, Tutoring and Graduation Ceremony

Well this week at Uni has been very interesting. I have adored being the big kid as I walked the newbies through orientation. My campus and library tours were very sucessful and I had questions and comments galore about how helpful I was. Yeah! I surprised myself with the wealth of information I have accumulated over the last three years and really enjoyed the ability to share it with the students who were all so attentive and responsive!!! This is the reason for the blog update and new page on my website dedicated to top tips for newbie students!

I got a call the other morning whilst I was cleaning house to see if I wanted to be a tutor for an Aboriginal student who was seeking help. The pay is pretty good but that wasn't why I was so excited about the prospect. I absolutely love to help people learn stuff and the chance to have my pick of subjects (or all of them) was a realy bonus. I have chosen to commit to 1 subject as this year is pretty busy for me and I want to maintain my GPA (actually want to improve it, currently is 6.5 want to get it closer to 7 - Lowest is 1 highest is 7) and because I get to pick I chose my fav subject - Anatomy & Physiology!! It should look really nice on my resume and since I want to get into teaching the experience will be invaluable.

We heard from last years cohort that each graduating student could only invite 3 guests to their ceremony!!!! Spewing!!! I can't believe that our campus is the only campus of our Uni that limits the number of guests we can have at our ceremony!!! Most of the people I know have more than 3 kids, not to mention their partners, parents, siblings and all the important people who have helped us get to this point!! I have contacted the Uni to get the details and they have confirmed that we will be limited in the number of tickets, they cant tell us how many at this stage as they dont know final graduating student numbers! They have indicated that they will not be looking for a larger location to hold the ceremony at and that it is really tough titties that we think it is unfair!!! Makes me feel like a boycot if it wasnt such an important event..... Will keep posted with the updates.

Top Tips for New Students

I have updated my web page again with tips I hope will help out the newbie students. If you ahve any tips to share please leave as a comment and I will add them to my web site.

1. Do your readings - Make sure you read through your lecture notes and do the required readings before going to the lectures, tutorials or labs. I can almost hear the lecturers cheering this one! Believe me you will be able to keep up much better with the content covered and you will have more time to listen and add to your notes.

2. Groups - Form study groups with people with similar interests to you. Try to make sure that the people in the group have similar expectations and commitment levels. When you are working on assignments split up the task load and share your resources. When you are being assessed as groups try to pick groups where you can trust that each member will contribute.

3. Research - Remember that just because something is written in a book or a journal doesn't make it right! When you are gathering information don't automatically assume that it is fact just because it has been published. Make sure that the source is reputable and current, also compare and contrast the information to other reputable sources before deciding if it is right to use.

4. Attend - There is nothing like being there! Go to as many lecturers, tutes and labs as you possibly can. The notes provided over the web will not be enough if you want to do well. It has been my experience that the lecturers provide hints to the exams all the way through the course, not to mention the content is often delivered by way of stories and experiences which make it much easier to remember later on.

5. Exam Preparation - Start early!!! I use a small exercise book and start a "glossary" from the very beginning of the course. To this glossary I add definitions and content covered in lectures that strikes me as important. When you are starting out it is often difficult to know what is important, so while you will have to decide this for yourself try adding things that are mentioned a few times in lecture notes. Some lecturers will cover important topics in the next lecture as "revision" this may be a hint that the topic is important and should be studied. Some lecturers will also give away subtle or obvious hints in their lectures that you can add to your glossary. Then when it comes to studying for your exam you should have a good place to start.

6. Notebooks for prac - If you are dreading trying to remember all the important stuff when you go out on prac try putting together a notebook to carry in your pocket. The sort of information you might find useful in these is common abbreviations, reference ranges for vital signs and common drug information. If you use an alphabetised book finding your information quickly will be easy.

7. Prac - If you are dreading prac in general try to relax and enjoy the experience. Easier said than done! I still have anxiety about prac but that usually subsides by the time I actually finish my first shift. Prac is an essential component of learning and provides invaluable experience. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself and seek guidance from your experienced RN's or your facilitator when you need it. Don't forget that you can always contact the Uni if you have problems when on prac. Try not to wish away your prac experience ("I wish it was over!!!"), enjoy the learning experience because it won't be long till you enter the workforce as an RN and will need all the experience you can get for the transition.

8. Lecturers - Ask questions if you don't understand and seek assistance early if you have problems. Asking for help the day before the assignment is due in is not going to work.

9. Get involved in the University Community - Get involved in what's going on around the University. Start building your personal resume early by being active and involved.

10. Enjoy the experience! It might just change your life

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Freedom to change my mind

I have been doing some thinking lately about whether to remain anonymous on my blog and what the benefits and repocussion of such a decision might be.

As I get into my last year at Uni I intend to use my the Student Nurse website I developed as an important part of my resume, thus it would be remiss of me not to have my name on it. I don't use the blog as a forum to vent about patients, nor do I breach any confidentiality. Given that I would also like the ability to post pictures on my blog I have decided that for me I am no longer going to stress over being anonymous. Having said that I am not about to advertise my personal details for all to see, I am going to be discreet, but not stress over every little link to my name or my work, especially on my website.

Hi, I am Emma and I am a Student Nurse (and proud of it!).

Friday, February 17, 2006

Back in the saddle...

Yeah! my wait is finally over. Next week is 'O' Week I will be going in most days to help orientate all the new students, and Week 1 of Uni is the week after that!

Our course information went online yesterday so I spend the afternoon printing hundreds of pages of reading material to cover before semester starts again. I feel so happy that there is real work to be done. I told my husband yesterday that my courses were up and I could start working again - his reply was one of surprise - I didn't realise you actually stopped!, I responded with you must have blinked and misssed it. But seriously I have been pretty lazy (as usual) over the summer break. We always say we are going to be dedicated and work at a steady pace to get the things done we want to, but it never happens, then later we look back and cringe at all the time we wasted.

We have begun busily fundraising for our Graduation Ball. We have sold chocolates to get us off the ground, next we will be raffling stationary hamper for the new students at 'o' week (pens, heaps of paper for printing, note books, desk sets, folders etc). We have all sorts of raffles planned and are going to do a hot chocolate, easter egg, hot cross bun day closer to easter (when the weather finally cools off a bit).

I found the outfit I am going to wear to the ball the other day. I was in a second hand store (one of my fav passtimes) and spotted the most fabulous vintage skirt. It is floor lenght, varying shades of aqua and has silver sequins on it. I have paired it with a crisp white shirt and lovely heels and I am set to go! I will be looking out for some fab jewellery to top it off, but I have plenty of time for that!!!

Well now that I have finally got books to hit, I am going to get some work done.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Gilmore Girls

I forgot to mention I have been spending/wasting (depends who you ask) my time watching the Gilmore Girls. I never really got it before but caught a couple reruns of the first series on Pay TV her the other day, since then I have been hooked!!! I have watched about 6 eps of the first series now and am desperately trying to find a friend who has the series who can lend them to me so I can have a big TV fest.

I don't know what it is about the show, I love the girliness, I love the town - I am desperate to move the family to a small town out of the suburbs ( I grew up in a small town, very small and really want the kids to be able to have that experience for a while), I love the Mother & Daughter relationship which has inspired me to make sure I do some creative things which my own daughter while we have time together(before school gets busy again), I love the decorating style of Loralai & Rory's home (and the Inn in the 4th season, which I have caught a few eps of). So thats what I have been doing for fun, something new which I have really enjoyed.

Graduation Ball

Well the Graduation Ball committee met again this week and we set the venue and date of the big Grad Ball!! We are having it at the same function centre as last years cohort which is a lovely place overlooking the Brisbane River - Amazingly it is called Riverside. We have set the date for 4th November which will be the Saturday after we finish school for this year. As we have no exams in Semester 2 it will be earlier than the rest of the classes finish but 3rd years will be finished. The menu and location sound excellent. We have busily arranged for heaps of fundraising to take place and are now in the midst of selling our chocolates and raffle tickets so we can reduce the overall price of the tickets. Last years cohort raised about $10000 and halved ticket prices.

I am still busy reviewing my work for this year and have begun some serious ECG work and some reading about Clinical Judgement and decision making processes - Just for FUN!!! No don't laugh, I may look at something relating to this for my Masters/Honours so it isn't wasted time.

I am feeling a bit better about my withdrawal from study and feeling upbeat about going back to school next week.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Same, Same but different!

Well it looks like my run with technology has continued.... After months, dare I say years (time flies) of nearly effortless uploading of my webpage to URL my internet provider have changed their system and no longer support frontpage extensions!!! So I thought this can't be too bad I will learn a new way to do it! I had the best intensions but somewhere along the way I deleted something critical and lost my ENTIRE web. I tried and tried and tried but couldn't work it out. Last night I went to bed after a marathon effort of trying without success to get it back on track. I had to settle for just the pages with links but no pictures or pretty stuff.

This morning I did some more working with my files, RELOADED and relinked every file, picture and background and eventually got it working again....

I love to look at the bright side of things so here is what I can say for myself - at least I persisted, I learnt heaps and even taught myself how to design my own backgrounds in Photoshop. Yeah! It illustrates nicely my love hate relationship I have with computers. Another cheery moment was when my new RAM arrived in the mail and I opened up my machine with confidence and popped it right in, bit of wobbling and jiggling and holding my tongue in the right position and - It Worked!!!! Yeah for me ! - I am sorry but not 2 weeks ago this was a foreign language to me so I am pround of learning something new.

Brings me to this last week. Not much is new, Kids are both back at school and settled in nicely. I stood up to the principle and had my daughter moved after the first week into a smaller class which I think will prove to be most beneficial in the long run. My son has settled into preschool well and has adjusted to his new routine.

I have completed a chunk of my "to do" list for returning to study, I have done acid-base, clotting cascade, cardiomyopathy, Wolf Parkinson White, Pain, Shock and Endocarditis. Having said that I feel like already I don't remember enough and will revisit again over the course of the semester.

UUURRRRGGGHHH - I am frustrated and bored!!! I can't wait for school to go back, I am not used to having spare time - I know I could get so much housework done........ nevermind. I signed up for some workshops on developing a resume and job interviewing skills today, that will help me to get into the spirit of things......